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Stratford Library, HS Sports Among Budget's Winners

Meanwhile, advocates for Stratford Animal Control are denied a $17,000 funding boost.

Stratford Town Council members passed a budget Tuesday that will apparently restore freshman high school sports, ensure that the is plenty busy on Sundays, and clean up the town's sidewalks and foreclosed properties.

By a 6-to-4 vote, Council members approved an amended operating budget for fiscal year 2013 totaling $190,861,641.

The total is about $270,000 less than , and about $2.3 million more than the budget for the current fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.

The mill rate, also approved by the same 6-to-4 vote, will increase the average annual tax bill by about $58.

Council members were able to trim the mayor's budget due in large part to $222,000 in realized savings for medical insurance. (Scroll down for a complete chart of last-minute department cuts and increases.)

Councilman Jason Santi (D-4) announced the amended items, which included $40,000 more for the Board of Education budget. Those monies will be used to restore freshman sports, according to Santi.

Fellow party member Stephanie Philips (D-2) said it's not the Council's place to say how the school board should or will spend its part of the budget, which came to $93,992,529. Furthermore, she added, freshman sports "is not an item that the Board of Education requested."

Philips voted down the amended budget along with Republicans Craig Budnick, Matt Catalano and Chris Barnaby. Santi and the other five Republicans on the Council voted yea, which was enough to pass the ordinance.

"I overall disagree with the priorities put in place with this budget," said Philips. She said instead of adding the $40,000 to schools, the money should go toward the animal shelter and community services, both of which requested a $17,000 increase to the funding proposed by Mayor Harkins.

"I support more money for the dog pound," Santi said. "But there's not enough votes to pass it."

At a public hearing on the budget in April, members of the Stratford Animal Rescue Society to add $17,600 to what the mayor had penciled in for Stratford Animal Control. They said without the increase, which is mainly for part-time salaries, the new animal shelter on Beacon Point Road is "set up to fail."

Paul Hoydick (R-10) said bringing back freshman sports at and high schools is an achievement that will impact some 300-plus students in town.

At the same hearing where animal volunteers rallied for animal control, several residents advocated for put forth by the mayor. The Council actually ended up adding $2,500 to the library's budget, which apparently will go toward paying workers to come in on Sunday. 

Other highlights/talking points:

  • Quote from Santi: "One of the main reasons I'm voting [yes] is because it saves Franklin School." Before the mayor proposed his budget, there was long talk about .
  • Quote from James Connor (R-8) directed toward Philips (hear clip in attached video): "If you would have come to us and said, 'I could support an x, y, z,' [but] you didn't, you left it all up to us. That's all I have to say." Connor called Philips' actions “disingenuous" and said this is the third year the councilwoman has voted against the budget.
  • Quote from Philips on police department: "We are still operating at minimum capacity .. in January we'll look at each other and say it's the union's fault .. we should hire one or two more officers so we can control OT."
  • Employee benefits: The Council's amended budget cut $50,000 from an employee benefits trust. The account is in part a way to measure the town's credit-rating. The school board's portion of the budget includes .
  • The largest altered increase on the town side of the budget was a $25,000 boost to "sidewalk maintenance."
  • The $15,000 allocated to the account below titled Blight (Other Contingency) will go toward cleaning up foreclosed properties, according to Santi.
Department Account Mayor's Proposed Funding

Council's Increase /Decrease

New Approved Funding Amount Employee Benefits Medical Insurance $13,000,000 ($222,000) $12,778,000 Planning & Zoning Payroll $276,471 ($57,600) $218,871 Contingency Callback $1,700,000 ($50,000) $1,650,000 Employee Benefits OPEB Trust $500,000 ($50,000) $450,000 Council Clerk Council Contingency $15,000 ($2,500) $12,500 Public Works Engineering Sidewalk Maintenance $63,000 $25,000 $88,000 Town Attorney Blight (Other Contingency) - $15,000 $15,000 Police Admin Emergency Management $35,000 $15,000 $50,000 Agencies Stratford Sister Cities $500 $2,500 $3,000 Library Sunday Hours (Payroll) $1,734,791 $2,500 $1,737,291 Public Works Parks Mtls (Agricutural Supplies) $16,000 $2,500 $18,500 Public Works Parks Fencing $21,000 $2,500 $23,500 Public Works Parks Field Maintenance $75,000 $2,500 $77,500 Public Works Parks Waterfront Maintenance $6,000 $2,500 $8,500 Public Works Parks Playground Maintenance $14,700 $2,500 $17,200 Town Expenses ($309,600) Board of Education Total BOE Allocation $93,952,529 $40,000 $93,992,529 TOTAL EXPENSES ($269,600)
Jim Ravis May 11, 2012 at 04:25 PM
@LeslieLight - In Stratford, it's not what is right - it's what is politically correct (and best for your career).
George E. Mulligan May 13, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Budget vote: Catalano & Budnick: unqualifed NO votes. . Barnaby qualified: NO stating promised constitutents NO INCREASE. . Philips qualifed NO vote, wanting HIGHER BUDGET or/and REPRIORITIES. Spending towards Democrat constituencies: poor, fixed income, needy, & lesser sympathetic. . POISSON & wife may be great people/community pillars! Should he ABSTAIN from A N Y VOTES affecting His & wife's livelihood, per (former?) Town Charter: "NO Town Councilor compensated by the Town, while on Town Council." > ETHICAL CONFLICT of INTEREST? . Stephanie has relationship with Town Management. . Paul Hoydic's wife is PAID State REP. Paul's family is on Committees. . John Dempsey relatives: Town Council Committees. . Kevin Kelly *PAID STATE REP *PAID TOWN ATTORNEY - Partner to TOWN ATTORNEY Bishop *PAID over $ 650,000 during MAYOR MIRON years under BURTURLA *Ran against MAYOR MIRON - ex BENEFACTOR for STATE REP . Assistant Town Attorney John Florek: 1) PAID Assistant Town Attorney during MAYOR MIRON years under Town Attorney BURTURLA 2) - CHARTER REVISION # 2 COMMISSION CHAIRMAN in which Town Attorney BURTURLA opined that STRATFORD likely does NOT have REVISED TOWN CHARTER, but a WHOLE NEW TOWN CHARTER, ergo the PUBLIC'S RIGHT to "PUBLIC INITIATIVE" to generate REFERENDUM is likely LOST. (Only 1st Amendment) 2) Conflict? Florek 1991 Town Attorney: "PUBLIC INITIATIVE REFERENDUMs" * 2% Budget CAP * Term Limits * Prohibit: FINANCIAL SELFINTEREST
George E. Mulligan May 13, 2012 at 04:19 AM
Does Attorneys in Town make money indirectly from other Attorneys, who make money from Attorneys, who make money from other Attorneys who make money from Attorneys who make money from stratford or Board of Education? - 1) Town Council Chairman Kubek: Lawyer? 2) Pension Lawyer Tom Cotter: former Attorney,worked in State of CT. CT employ & worked for Berchem, Moses, & Devlin for 1+/- year, * Assistant Town Attorney Burturla: FULL (un-named) PARTNER. Esquire Cotter on Disability Review Board: which approves / denies Town Workers disabilities retirements. > $ 19,000,000 annually now to retirees, and was $ 2 million before 1996 when Burturla's firm first started getting paid about $ 10 million todate by Town and BoE, depending on reliability of figures. 3) Esq. Kevin Kelly likely PAID over $ 3 million since 1999-2000? 4) Florek doesn't get PAID much directly by Town - maybe $ 50,000 yearly? makes one wonder if there are back doors? 5) Esq Proto was State of CT Attorney. His wife happens to be principal of a magnet School 6) Check Berchem website with remarkable 26 BoE I believe Florek's & Burturla's wives are Teachers. Did Berchem get BoEs because BoE Management & Teachers don't get much money for Pay, Benefits, & Retirements? Or are Berchem an example major problems caused by certain feeder firms, as some allege? . Connors HR Bpt Fitting. Any Fed/State/Political Contracts? . Santi qualified his YES VOTE - MAYBE NO CONFLICTS of INTERESTS?
George E. Mulligan May 13, 2012 at 04:45 AM
I wonder why NO ONE explains 1) NORM ALDRICH alleged $ 70 k annually? - TEAM STRATFORD paid $ 11 million over 10 years to market AVCO. 2) ex-Town Councilor 3 times, which was the limit, then circumvented 1991 Referendum on term limits to become Town Council Chairman. > Owns a company which refurbishes Fire Trucks > Distributor SMEAL Manufacturer > Where did HARKINS - MALLOY buy FIRE TRUCKS? - 2 BONDED by Henrick Cown Council. Did "emergency" circumvent bid process? Sept 12 town Council BONDED another Fire Truck = night I was POISONED? . Tom Mallow reputed 1st cousin to Governor Dannel Malloy. Harkins was given $ 7500 for UNVOUCHERED expenses, (part of $ 21,000 extra PAY over $ 90,000 Base Pay (23.3%) . Henrick ex-Town Council Chairman: ZONING. Henrick, Julian, O'Neil and others are in Construction Harkins owns appraisal co. Gavin Forester CFO Insurance Company: Coastal. Tom Malloy owns RISK MANAGEMENT, deals multiple gov levels? I believe Finance Sue Collier husband: Stratford Fireman Ex-finance Linda LoShiavo husband Joe: Deputy Police Chief > Pensions increased 60 % exPolice Chief John Burturla: Brother 1996-2012 Town Attorney office Richard Burturla. CT STATE POLICE Homeland Security head, as Lieberman Chaired Senate Committee exPolice Chief Mike Imbro's brother in law: ex-Town Councilor Tom Moore, (State Police retired) CT Police LT Schirillo ex-Town Council, exDTC Chair, extra $ liaison Homeland. . NO CONFLICT INTEREST?
George E. Mulligan May 13, 2012 at 11:39 PM
"BOOK EM, Dano!"

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